Vegas Seven

The People Issue

  • The People Issue

    Alex Garza

    By Bob Whitby

    How do you turn a kid into a budding entrepreneur? Put him to work. That’s what did it for Alex Garza. “I was pumping gas at 6 or 7,” says Garza, now 39 and an assistant vice president at Wells Fargo’s Home and Consumer Finance Group in Las Vegas. “I used to love it. You got tipped a quarter or a dollar—that’s what gave me my work ethic.”

  • The People Issue

    Paul Beard

    By Phil Hagen

    What Paul Beard does as chief operating officer of The Smith Center is almost beyond comprehension to those not deep into the business of building and running half-billion-dollar performing arts centers. For every graspable duty (such as helping to lure Wicked to Vegas) there’s intricate big-picture stuff (“fusion of capital,” “integrated results”). But here is the main thing to know about Beard as the project continues toward its March 2012 grand opening: He’s spending a lot of time putting himself in your shoes.

  • The People Issue

    Tara Palsha

    By Cindi Reed

    Less than 10 years ago, an eager young dancer from Pittsburgh sat in the audience of a darkened Las Vegas showroom and watched the lead showgirls with envy. “Oh my God, I want to be her,” she said to herself. Most people stop there, playing sour grapes with an unfulfilled wish. But not Tara Palsha. Today, the fiery redhead sizzles as the lead dancer of Vegas: The Show. And in the eight years she’s lived in Las Vegas, she’s also danced in Jubilee!, Bite, Fantasy and Peepshow.

  • The People Issue

    Maythinee Washington


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    By

    Maythinee Washington acts, dances, writes, teaches yoga and knits. She’s also played a Moorish Lady Macbeth. But above all, she is a storyteller. Washington, 29, is a careful observer and interpreter of the world. She’s come up with a phrase to describe her brand: “storytelling from an authentic place.” It’s a sort of unified field theory of what she is, does and seeks to be. Although she chases several creative strands, the stripping away of facades in a dogged, and often uncomfortable, pursuit of truth is a theme that runs through her life and discourse.

  • The People Issue

    Napoleon McCallum

    By Sean DeFrank

    Football has helped teach Napoleon McCallum many life lessons, including how to battle back from adversity. After suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history (dislocated knee, ruptured artery, three snapped ligaments), ending his NFL career one game into his sixth season in 1994, the College Football Hall of Famer was forced to re-evaluate his future. As director of community development for Sands Corp., McCallum now is doing what he can to help Las Vegas bounce back from hard times.

  • The People Issue

    Bill Young

    By Sean DeFrank

    With a nurse for a mother and a police officer for a father, Bill Young Jr. always knew he wanted to help people. When it came time to pursue a career, though, Young never really considered following directly in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he sought another avenue in public safety. “The running joke in our family was, ‘Nobody likes the cops; everybody loves the firemen. It’s a no-brainer,’” he says.

  • The People Issue

    Daren Libonati

    By Sean DeFrank

    As a former UNLV place-kicker, Daren Libonati knows the deal: If everything is perfect, you’ve simply done your job; if you fail, that job might not be there for you. The same concept applies to Libonati’s role in bringing headline sporting and entertainment events to Las Vegas in the past 25 years, an approach that’s gone straight and right down the middle every time.

  • The People Issue

    Kimberly Valdez

    By Max Jacobson

    Kimberly Valdez is being modest when she says that her “biggest asset is the ability to give a chef what he wants.” It’s her relentless creativity that has resulted in some of the most innovative desserts in Las Vegas today.

  • The People Issue

    Torrey Sleight

    By Carla Ferreira

    Torrey Sleight is a full-time model who doesn’t have fake breasts and doesn’t do any suggestive poses that she couldn’t show to her family at the dinner table. So you’re not likely to catch a glimpse of her in anything less than a bikini. Sleight grew up in a large family in San Diego and went to school to become an aesthetician. Her family relocated to Las Vegas six years ago and after seeing her older sister dabble in modeling, she began doing trade shows.

  • The People Issue

    Steven Horsford

    When Steven Horsford ran for state Senate in 2004, the economy was soaring. “I didn’t run for office to cut budgets for kids and for seniors,” Horsford says. But he found himself on the frontlines patching a broken budget anyway. The new legislative season will be even worse: The state faces a $2.7 billion shortfall out of a two-year, $8 billion budget. “The decisions made by this Legislature will define this state for the next generation,” he says. “We’re at that crossroads.”

  • The People Issue

    Kyle Markman

    By David G. Schwartz

    Kyle Markman knows how to throw a party. In June 2008, it was his job to set up a celebration for the release of Nelly’s Brass Knuckles at Red Rock Resort. Nelly was so taken by Markman’s personal tour of the resort’s suites, pools and lounges—and the way Markman juggled arrangements and handled VIPs during the bash—that he filmed the entire video for “Body on Me” at the casino.

  • The People Issue

    Brooke Olimpieri

    By Carla Ferreira

    Brooke Olimpieri knows that businesses are built on focus, discipline and the courage to take risks. So when she quit her job at Rain Nightclub last year to dedicate all her time to her clothing line, Filthy Mouth, she understood what she was getting into. Today she puts all the money she makes from Filthy Mouth right back into the company. She’s just launched an online shop, and has plans to expand production.

  • The People Issue

    Lucy Flores

    By Jazmin Gelista

    When Lucy Flores was 13 years old and sitting in a detention cell at juvenile hall, she never thought that one day she would be the Nevada’s first Latina state assemblywoman. She’d been running with gangs, breaking curfew and running away from home. But the mentorship of some tough-minded adults got her focused on bigger things.

  • The People Issue

    Sam Cherry

    By Greg Blake Miller

    Behind every dream-come-true, there is a person who was willing to look like a complete idiot to see it through. Soho Lofts was such a dream, and Sam Cherry was such a person.

  • The People Issue

    Michael Parks

    By Paul Szydelko

    When Michael Parks tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus playing indoor soccer last year, he knew it would be a long road to recovery. Almost as sudden—and just as challenging to bounce back from—was the plummet of Las Vegas real estate values, which Parks endured as a member of the team that handles casino transactions for CB Richard Ellis.

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